In the 1890s the six Australian colonies were preoccupied not only with getting a fair deal over tariffs and customs – and maintaining the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race – but also with the location of the national capital. Denizens of Melbourne and Sydney felt that it should be one of them. The compromise was a capital in New South Wales, closer to Sydney than Melbourne, but with Melbourne as the seat of federal government until it was constructed.
Charles Robert Scrivener: The Surveyor who Sited Australia's National Capital Twice
by Terry Birtles
Arcadia, $39.95 pb, 304 pp, 9781921875588
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Richard Broinowski is an Adjunct Professor in Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. He was an Australian diplomat in Asia, the Middle East, and Central America.
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